Safety management systems need to be maintained, monitored and their effectiveness measured. Even with internal audit processes, sampling and the use of repetitive audit templates there can be an impression that evolving issues have been taken care of which often leads to complacency developing within an organisation. It is paramount that when operational changes occur, the safety management system must evolve to reflect the new reality; if not, safety management controls can become weakened or compromised resulting in:
- The behaviours of employees deviating from what should be expected
- Internal audit methodologies delivering consistently non-critical messages to management
- Risk identification and assessment methodologies not being consistently managed or are completed with an expectation bias
Ensuring that the continual improvement process keeps safety management system controls relevant and up to date is a difficult but necessary task within an organisation. However, the time demands on top management can be significant and therefore safety management can become just another one of the myriad issues that has to be managed.